Monday, March 26, 2012

Modesty – A Command, Not a Conviction.

Welcome Courtship Connection Readers!  So glad to have you!

A guest post from my oldest!





Modesty.  So often we skirt the issue (literally, but I will get to that later). We often gloss over it, make excuses, and tell each other that modesty is really a thing of the heart. While modesty starts in the heart, it doesn’t stop in the heart. Our appearance is a direct reflection of what is inside.

The truth is that we have been commanded to be modest. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.(NIV) This isn’t an area open to conviction. It isn’t an area that only applies only to those under 30, or those who are unmarried. 50 year olds and married women are called to be just as modest as a 15 year old. We are called to do all that we can to keep our brothers in Christ from stumbling on account of us.

So what does modesty encompass  exactly? Should we all wear baggy turtlenecks and poufy floor-sweeping skirts? Become nuns? Hey, if that’s your style, go for it! But in all seriousness, who is to say what is modest and is not?  I run a terrible risk in writing this post.  I will probably be accused of being too harsh by some and not modest enough by others.  I am not going to declare that you have to wear a skirt to be modest, or that a shirt has to have at least short sleeves. I am however, going to use this opportunity to share some things that I have learned in seeking the Lord and been taught by some super godly women in my life.

1.       Pray. If you are truly, and I do mean truly, seeking the Lord in this area and willing to open your heart to His Word, He will show you  things that aren’t pleasing to Him and things that are causing your brothers in Christ to stumble. Trust me! The Lord will make it quite clear to you. That uncomfortable or guilty feeling is almost always conviction (ask me how I know!).

2.       Ask a male in your life. By that I mean a father, brother, grandfather, or husband. Sorry, boyfriends do not count here. Have them evaluate your wardrobe with you. As males they will be able to tell you which pieces are immodest, or are going to have a negative effect on guys.

3.       Some things to avoid at all costs.

a.       Exposed bra straps, camisole straps, and underwear. Countless guys have shared that these are real issues for them. If we know it, why do we continue to ignore it? Why is it ok to have any of your underwear showing?

b.      Exposed midriffs. In other words, your shirt should cover your skin at all times. Besides, how many of us have stomachs worthy of showing off? =)

c.       Low neck-lines. We are all different.  A shirt that is modest on me might not be on you. Put on your shirts and evaluate them.  Are they too low? Can you bend over without being exposed? Can someone taller than you look down into them? Can you raise your arms without seeing your stomach?

d.      Short skirts and shorts. This one is hard. What so many girls and ladies don’t seem to realize is that skirts and shorts get shorter when you sit. That skirt that hits mid-thigh while you stand up is not going to stay there when you sit down. Same thing with shorts. I would encourage you to again ask a man in your life (see 2 for guidelines) what length he thinks is appropriate, keeping in mind that it is better to err on the side of caution. Make a "rule" for yourself, and use it in evaluating all your clothing. I decided long ago that I would not wear anything higher than right at or just above my knees. For me it was (and is) an easy way to make sure that I am being modest and I don’t have to worry about sitting down or bending over.

e.      Tight clothing and sheer/see-through clothing. The whole point of clothing is to cover your body. When we wear skin-tight clothing and sheer clothing we are defeating that purpose.  You might as well go out in your underwear. It also goes back to point a. If you can make out the color of your undergarments, or “un-mentionables,” as my brother calls them, you should re-think what you are wearing.

4.       It comes down to a simple question. Are you pleasing men, yourself, and the world, or are you pleasing God? Could you stand before Jesus in what you are wearing right now and feel absolutely no shame?

I know this post has the potential to ruffle some feathers. Quite honestly, I want it to. If we as Christians have gotten to the point where we no longer want to be convicted we have become lukewarm. As I write this I also want to make it clear that I am not God. (Although I am sure that is perfectly obvious.) I am still being convicted about clothes. I mess up. Sometimes I wear things that I later realize weren’t the best of choices. To be honest, I am still struggling with the issue of bathing suits. Just ask my mother and sister, who were both convinced that me sewing my own bathing suit/bathing skirt was going to be a disaster. (For the record, it turned out better than I had hoped.) Right now I am wrestling over why our standards are tossed out the window when we go swimming. The point is we have all messed up at one time or another, but Christ offers us forgiveness and a second chance.

Ladies, we have heard about modesty and we have talked about it. I think it is time to stop talking about it and time to start living it. Your second chance starts today.

This post is being linked today! (10/9/12) Make sure you take the time to visit Courtship Connection to see other posts in their Tuesday Link Up!
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27 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post you have written! I can attest to being convicted of what I wear also. I have only been a Christian for 3 years and looking back, the Lord has done a lot of changing in my life, with clothing being one of the big ones. I certainly believe that modesty is a huge issue in our world today, and our churches are not immune to it. We are currenly stuggling with our current church because the pastor's daughter goes up on stage (she is in the worship team) in some very immodest clothing, which my husband and son have to look at. His other daughter, whom is only 9, does not dress much better. His wife also wears low-cut tops regularly. How in the world could I bring that to his attention without sounding like I am judging him? We are mostly sure that we are just going to leave the church and are visiting other churches, but our pastor is noticing and asking us why we are looking to leave the church. A very tight spot to be in! Anyway, I applaud your honesty and directness in this post and hope and pray that it will convict and influence others!

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  2. Stacy,
    If I might offer some advice. I would be totally honest with your pastor. Let him know that the clothing that his wife and daughters are wearing is spiritually distracting to your husband and son and that you are woried that it might constitute a stumbling block. Address the clothing itself and not the persons, that way he is less likely to think you are attacking him and his family. God calls us to redirect and confront in love our fellow christians. Your pastor may not think it is such a big deal what his wife and daughter wear, but God is certainly giving you a message and I would say he is wanting you to pass it along. Use the opportunities that God places in your path to help glorify God and light an area that is currently in darkness.
    I hope this helps,
    sgislon

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  3. What a great testimony =), I know this scripture is in the Old testament and some christians dismiss any statutes or judgements in the old testament as "under the law" and we do not have to obey them anymore. Yet this really convicted me to have my thighs covered all the time =)I didn't realize that when was wearing tight jeans that my skin was covered but not the shape of my thighs and so glad for God's word to change my dress! God calls the thighs nakedness! Exodus 28:42
    And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

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  4. Beautiful post and I totally agree! Made me smile today after reading a another post from a Christian ezine for young adults about how outward modesty does NOT really matter, it was upsetting and deceitful. Glad to see some truth.

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  5. Loved this post, especially the title! You hit the nail on the head! Found you through Modest Mondays at the Modest Mom.

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  6. I couldn't agree more. I wear skirts all the time now and feel weird if I put on trousers, in fact I feel like I have lost my feminine side. I have even managed to do the gardening in a denim skirt with out any problems!! You are quite right about the short skirt. Sometimes I will wear a knee length skirt in summer (below the knee) and when you sit down it can end up above the knee if you aren't careful.

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  7. I really enjoyed this, you diplomatically tackled it. I've been so much more comfortable since I started taking modesty seriously. Right now I'm on the bathing suit issue, with myself and my 2 little girls, trying to find something.

    Cindy @ Apron Strings and Apple Trees

    Found you from Modest Mondays

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  8. Ladies, I am going to do a quick response post shortly, but wanted to address a few of your comments first. First, thank you for commenting in such a respectful, thoughtful way. It is appreciated! And Stacy, I have to agree with sgislon, I would be upfront and honest with your pastor about your concerns. While we should not and cannot be the modesty police for everyone, I do believe that we have a responsibilty to fellow believers to hold each other accountable in a loving and kind way. They honestly may not even realize the message they are sending by their dress. Sad, but true! And yes, Del, it does really matter, doesn't it?! Thank you again!

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  9. Thank you for your post! The bathing suit issue has really been heavy on my heart lately. I also don't understand why we have certain standards during the day but throw them out when we go to the pool. I really like what you say in #1 "That uncomfortable or guilty feeling is almost always conviction." I am just so uncomfortable at the pool. I decided this year to do something about it. I am ordering a swim suit from the company "Modestly Yours Swimwear" (http://modestlyyoursswimwear.com/). I am so excited to be covered and comfortable at the pool this year! I know I'll get some stares...but I just don't care anymore! I feel the Lord wants me to cover up, even at the pool! Thanks again for your post!
    (I am in no way being compensated for suggesting this website. I just wanted to share it because I feel so blessed for having found this great company; maybe others will find it helpful too!)

    I also found you through Modest Mondays at The Modest Mom.

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    1. Thanks for sharing...we will check it out. Ashton has her own sewing business, so sheis always looking for new projects to try!

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  10. Love the post, and your daughter is beautiful (or you, depending on who is reading this, lol). It's great to see more youth stand up for modesty. :)

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  11. Wow ladies, found this on Raising Arrows...the series is great...the video link, though a little long, is POWERFUL! Would love to hear your thoughts! Stacey, thought of you since it mentions the church.
    http://www.raisingarrows.net/2011/04/she-wears-skirts-why-skirts/

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  12. Thank you for this post! In the past when I was younger I was a very shy girl. My dad was strict in all areas except what I wore. He also was an angry alcoholic (that is a whole other story). Anyway I would often wear low cut shirts and short shorts ( I was looking for some male attention) and I now realize how I should not have done that to myself and others. I have four children (one is a girl) I really am changing the way I dress to set a good example and obey God. I have lost 25 pounds of baby weight so I do like fashion and looking nice but that does not mean I should dress inappropriately. I can look nice and be modest at the same time. Thanks again for this post!

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  13. Thanks for sharing! My motives for dressing somewhat inappropriately at times hasn't been for male attention at all, but that I just wanted to fit in with the girls. I read your post as well as this: www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey and now I see what an issue it can be, even if I just want to fit in. Thanks!

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  14. Great post! I found this through a comment on my blog and I am happy to have found this blog as well. What a gem on knowledge there is here!

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    1. So glad you joined us! Thank you for your kind words!

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  15. Such a blessing to hear this coming from a young woman. Thank you for exhorting us all to take into consideration the hearts of the men around us. Blessings to you!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

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  16. Hi Michele, it's Amy, a former Crewmate. Just wanted to say that your daughter did a beautiful job with this.

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    1. Thanks Amy! She is a joy and inspires me daily. Thanks for taking the time to stop in and say hi!

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  17. Very good article. I'm facing many of these issues as well..


    Also visit my web site :: instant face lift cream reviews

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  18. I just found this post, Michele. What a good article from your daughter -- I will have my 13yo read this because it's so pertinent and well-said. Thank you. :)

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    1. Glad you found it Gwen! It is one of my favorite things she has written and one of of most popular posts! Oh, that all of our girls would embrace modesty!

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  19. Love this post and completely agree! I was just wondering, though, why you say a boyfriend does not count for telling you wether your clothes are modest or not?

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    1. Hello, Madeleine! Thanks for your comment! My main reason for excluding boyfriends from the list is that you want an honest opinion from the man you ask. That man needs to be able to look at you and tell you (without worrying about hurting your feelings) if what you are wearing is appropriate. That's a pretty tall order! Let's face it, no matter how honest they are, most boyfriends aren't going to want to risk hurting our feelings. Plus, a boyfriend might have trouble being objective about his opinion, (after all, he does like you!) so to ask him is just downright unfair to the poor guy! =)
      -Ashton

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  20. Wonderfully written post. I also feel really strange in jeans although when we go trekking I usually wear something baggy and comfortable. Skirts also help us to maintain a feminine posture, when standing, sitting, etc
    When we chose skirts for the ourselves (I had two girls, now married) our rule was/is to see no knees when sitting, without any stretching, either of the skirt or of the imagination!
    Blessings, S

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  21. What a beautiful heartfelt post. I know it is hard to speak of modesty without sounding judgemental but you have honestly spoken of what God has shared with you. My daughters and I also dress modestly and after several years, have now found a church that also teaches the way we believe. My pastor taught a lesson on modesty recently and referenced that in the New Testament the people used Jewish law to establish modesty dress. In fact, when you visit Israel now there are places you cannot go unless you adhere to their dress policy which is clearly stated. I wish a had a picture of the sign that he took a picture of on his last visit there to share.

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